The Sting of Separation - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

The Sting of Separation

Posted: Updated:
(Data Courtesy: George Mason University) (Data Courtesy: George Mason University)

CAMBRIDGE, Md.-  The Eastern Shore, like much of the southern half of the United States, has a history of slavery.  Of course, slavery ended well over 150 years ago.  It's important to remember the past in order to change the future, and now computers can help us give us a clearer view.

A nondescript store in Dorchester County may not look like much, but this is possibly the oldest standing general store in the state of Maryland.  Susan Meredith, who owns the building with her husband Jay, says the property holds an important place in the history of slavery, in particular the story of a young Harriet Tubman.

"She was in here and a slave boy ran in and the local overseer came.  When he came, he asked her to hold him while he whipped him, and she let him have it.  She defended him and when she did, he ran out the door, and the local overseer, Thomas Burnett, took a two pound counterweight and hurled it at the boy and accidentally hit her in the head.  From that time on she suffered from what we know as narcolepsy," said Meredith.

Meredith's store is one of several places in Dorchester County where you can connect with the past.  Another is the Harriet Tubman Museum in downtown Cambridge.  William Jarmon is on the board of the museum, and says slavery was abundant in the area.

"These small farms had maybe one to two to three families that supported the farm life that was necessary at that time.  In the early 1800s, more slaves were necessary to keep up with the grain crops in this area," said Jarmon.

Even still, for the most part Herschell Johnson with the local NAACP says slavery was smaller scale than other areas.

"Maybe when we say there were a lot of large farms that had maybe 15 or 16 slaves, they didn't have a large number of slaves like they did further south," said Johnson.

There are plenty of places you can go on the shore to connect with the history of slavery.  You can go to places like Susan Meredith's store or here to the birthplace of Harriet Tubman.  But these days, everything in our world is very technical, so why not turn on the computer and see what we can find there.

What you can find is this map, created by an assistant professor of history at George Mason University.  The map allows you to scroll back and forth through time, and using census data, you can watch as slavery spreads, and as the number of free African Americans increases.

Jarmon says it's a useful tool for understanding our history.

"As you gradually move towards 1860, the free population is growing, and the enslaved population is decreasing.  Over a period of time, I would just assume over the course of 50 or 100 years, slavery would have ended itself without actually having to have a civil war," said Jarmon.

The map also shows the population didn't entirely flee after being freed.

"People stayed here because they had family.  In the case of Harriet, I guess Harriet would have stayed if she wasn't abused.  But she just had to get away.  People ran away from Dorchester County, but even members of Harriet's family decided to stay," said Johnson.

But why look at the past at all?  a chance to see how far things have come.

"We as African Americans seem to forget what we went through in order to get where we are today.  To look at that map, and see how things have changed at least shows us our history and see how far we had to come to get where we are today," said Johnson.

A chance to change the future.

"You can still walk around in Cambridge, and there are still activities that are separated by race, and that is just something that in time will perhaps change.  We all celebrate the same culture, the same religion, the same social activities, but there is that line that separates us because of the color of our skin," said Jarmon.

And a chance to end slavery once and for all.

"If you are a descendent of a slave or are appalled by slavery, then what are you doing to stop slavery today?  It's everywhere.  It's still going on, and it's still going on in other countries.  It could be women or children, little boys.  It all revolves around sex.  Back then it revolved around work, now it revolves around sex slavery, it's very sad," said Meredith.

All of the people we spoke to said the same thing.  if you don't know the past, you are doomed to repeat it.  by understanding the past, they hope the future can be brighter.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Anti-Discrimination Draft Concerns Some in Sussex County

    Anti-Discrimination Draft Concerns Some in Sussex County

    10/18/2017 16:58:00 -04:002017-10-18 20:58:00 GMT
    Wednesday, October 18 2017 5:06 PM EDT2017-10-18 21:06:55 GMT
    (Photo: MGN)(Photo: MGN)
    SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. - Months after Governor Carney issued a memorandum asking the Department of Education to create a model anti-discrimination policy for the state, a draft is available for public comment. Once finalized, the regulations will be inMore
    SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. - Months after Governor Carney issued a memorandum asking the Department of Education to create a model anti-discrimination policy for the state, a draft is available for public comment. Once finalized, the regulations will be inMore
  • Sussex Tech Educator Named Teacher of the Year

    Sussex Tech Educator Named Teacher of the Year

    10/18/2017 16:59:00 -04:002017-10-18 20:59:00 GMT
    Wednesday, October 18 2017 4:59 PM EDT2017-10-18 20:59:26 GMT
    A high school English teacher from the Sussex Technical School District is Delaware's nominee in a national competition after being named 2018 State Teacher of the Year.More
    A high school English teacher from the Sussex Technical School District is Delaware's nominee in a national competition after being named 2018 State Teacher of the Year.More
  • Orbital ATK Cygnus Spacecraft Set for November Mission to the ISS

    Orbital ATK Cygnus Spacecraft Set for November Mission to the ISS

    10/18/2017 16:49:00 -04:002017-10-18 20:49:00 GMT
    Wednesday, October 18 2017 4:49 PM EDT2017-10-18 20:49:44 GMT
    Orbital ATK shows off it's Cygnus Spacecraft at the NASA Flight Facility on Wallops IslandOrbital ATK shows off it's Cygnus Spacecraft at the NASA Flight Facility on Wallops Island
    Orbital ATK showed off the latest Cygnus spacecraft ahead of it’s upcoming mission Wednesday morning.More
    Orbital ATK showed off the latest Cygnus spacecraft ahead of it’s upcoming mission Wednesday morning.More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Under Fire

    10/17/2017 17:44:00 -04:002017-10-17 21:44:00 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 6:30 PM EDT2017-10-17 22:30:06 GMT
    SALISBURY, Md. - A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county.Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State PolicMore
    SALISBURY, Md. - A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county.Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State PolicMore
  • Arrest Made in Seaford Animal Cruelty Case

    Arrest Made in Seaford Animal Cruelty Case

    10/17/2017 15:28:00 -04:002017-10-17 19:28:00 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 3:50 PM EDT2017-10-17 19:50:18 GMT
    A Seaford man has been arrested on animal cruelty charges.More
    A Seaford, Del. man has been arrested on 449 charges, including felony animal cruelty, according to the state's Office of Animal Welfare.More
  • 18 Inmates Charged in Deadly Del. Prison Uprising

    16 Inmates Charged With First-degree Murder in Del. Prison Uprising

    10/17/2017 10:14:00 -04:002017-10-17 14:14:00 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 2:25 PM EDT2017-10-17 18:25:59 GMT
    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna.More
    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Two other inmates were also charged in connection with the incident.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • 18 Inmates Charged in Deadly Del. Prison Uprising

    18 Inmates Charged in Deadly Del. Prison Uprising

    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Two other inmates were also charged in connection with the incident on Feb. 1-2 that resulted in the murder of Lt. Steven Floyd, injuries to Correctional Officers Winslow Smith and Joshua Wilkinson, and the kidnapping of counselor Patricia May.

    More

    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Two other inmates were also charged in connection with the incident on Feb. 1-2 that resulted in the murder of Lt. Steven Floyd, injuries to Correctional Officers Winslow Smith and Joshua Wilkinson, and the kidnapping of counselor Patricia May.

    More
  • Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county. Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State Police trooper. In the post, Lewis referred to the protesters as "fist wielding, black power activists" who decried law enforcement officers' work.

    More

    A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county. Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State Police trooper. In the post, Lewis referred to the protesters as "fist wielding, black power activists" who decried law enforcement officers' work.

    More
  • Political Mudslinging Ahead of Hurlock Town Elections

    Political Mudslinging Ahead of Hurlock Town Elections

    Samantha McDonald posted her support for mayor of Hurlock to Michael Henry on Facebook. That's when current Mayor Joyce Spratt messaged her.

    In that message, Mayor Spratt said McDonald had been fed lies. McDonald says the Mayor's message was completely inappropriate.

    WBOC went to Mayor Spratt to ask her about the message and allegations McDonald and others have made against her.

    More

    Samantha McDonald posted her support for mayor of Hurlock to Michael Henry on Facebook. That's when current Mayor Joyce Spratt messaged her.

    In that message, Mayor Spratt said McDonald had been fed lies. McDonald says the Mayor's message was completely inappropriate.

    WBOC went to Mayor Spratt to ask her about the message and allegations McDonald and others have made against her.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices